Just popping in with a little story….
Of course the day after I write a glowing post about how in love with Paris I am, I’d get a little reminder that nowhere is perfect.
Yesterday, I was on my way to the Centre Pompidou (which was wonderful, I’ll write more about it later) with a group from school. We were getting on the metro when all of a sudden these sketchy looking kids came out of nowhere and got on with us. Call me naive, but I couldn’t figure out what was happening. The girls at the front weren’t moving forward into the metro car, so we were all sort of stuck and getting pushed around near the doorway. I didn’t suspect anything…call me naive, but they were pretty young (probably around twelve or thirteen), and I thought they maybe just weren’t from Paris or something and didn’t really know what they were doing. I know, I know. At this point I’d gotten pushed and shoved by this little gang so much that I was starting to fall over, and on top of that, I noticed that two of the girls seemed to be stuck in the door, which was trying to close. So I shouted to the girls in the front to move forwards. At the same time, the person accompanying us from school noticed what was happening and shouted at the girls to get out, en français. Hmm, that’s odd.
I turned around and one of the little…rascals had my wallet halfway out of my bag.
The girls ran off (thankfully dropping the wallet back into my bag before they did), and another girl I was with realized they had gotten her wallet. It’s a terrible feeling to be stolen from no matter what, but add to that the stress of canceling credit cards and obtaining new IDs (we all had official, school, and dorm on us) in a foreign country, and I imagine things would start feeling very overwhelming very fast. (Though I think I would have been most upset about losing my wallet. I really like it.)
Anyway, I consider myself very lucky to have narrowly escaped. It certainly saved me a lot of grief. Just as a shoutout to my fellow travelers or future travelers, it’s not a myth. Pickpocketing happens all the time here, and it’s often little kids doing it. So zip your bag if it has a zip and keep your arm clamped over it as additional protection. If your wallet’s in your pocket, be conscious of it. My roommate told me that last week a little kid got his hand into her Dad’s back pocket and was about to take their passports (can you imagine?). So learn how to say “get lost” in your country’s native language, and if a bunch of sketchy little kids show up and start pushing and shoving, don’t be afraid to shout it.
At the end of the day, much worse things can happen, but it would still be a huge pain. And don’t worry…I’m not holding it against Paris in the slightest.
Here’s another cautionary tale:
Couldn’t help myself.